The Reds blew a nine-run lead on Wednesday against the Giants, falling behind by one heading into the ninth and looking like a sweep in San Francisco was inevitable. But Cincinnati rallied, tied it in the ninth and won it, 12-11, in the 12th to head back home from the West Coast with a 6-3 record.
The Reds will get a day to catch their collective breath before kicking off a six-game homestand against the Cubs and Brewers on Friday. It's an important six games against two of the National League Central's lesser teams before the Reds hit the road to play in St. Louis, which is 3 1/2 games behind Cincinnati in the NL Central.
"Six wins in nine games is very good, especially on the West Coast," said Reds slugger Joey Votto, who was 4-for-7 in Wednesday's game with two home runs and four RBIs, including the game-winner in the 12th.
"We have to go back home and play solid baseball and continue this. We can't just be satisfied with this. We need to continue to push forward."
The Reds have feasted against the non-Cardinals teams in the division, going 29-11 against clubs not based in St. Louis. That includes a 10-3 mark against Chicago, which got swept by Cincinnati at Wrigley Field the last time the two teams met in the beginning of August.
That doesn't mean, of course, that the youthful Cubs are just going to roll over for the division leaders. Interim manager Mike Quade, who piloted the Cubs to three victories over the Nationals, had said that playing spoiler was a motivation for his club to perform well over the remaining days of the season when he took over for Lou Piniella.
Lefty Tom Gorzelanny will be the one to try to put a chink in the Reds' armor first, though it remains to be seen what he has in the tank. He's thrown 120 pitches in each of his last two starts, so Friday could be a good durability test for the starter. Gorzelanny certainly wouldn't mind wreaking some havoc atop the NL Central, but he said he doesn't think it will be his primary focus.
"It's the same as playing anyone," said Gorzelanny, who is 3-4 with a 4.74 ERA in his career against the Reds. "Each time you play a game, you want to go out and play your best. I don't think it matters either way. ... It's an added bonus when you do it against a really good team in the race and make them sweat a little bit.
"It's always a good feeling at the end of a series when you've won the series and put them in a really bad spot. Being spoilers is always a good feeling."
Cubs: X marked the spot for Lee-less Cubs
In the first five games following the Derrek Lee trade, Xavier Nady started at first base in all five and handled the assignment fairly well, albeit without much in the way of run production.
Nady went 7-for-19 over the five games (.368), picking up a hit in each of the five games. He hit a pair of doubles, but drove in just a single run. Nady got the night off on Wednesday, yielding first base to Micah Hoffpauir, who was officially recalled on Monday. Nady appeared as a pinch-hitter late in the game Wednesday and went 0-for-1.
Reds: Cueto looking for more command
After serving a seven-game suspension that forced him to miss one start, Johnny Cueto was a little too fired up in his return against the Dodgers. He was way too strong and was overthrowing, resulting in a brief three-inning, five-run stint. He has faced the Cubs once this year, throwing five shutout innings, though he did give up seven hits and five walks in Chicago back in early July. He's 2-5 with a 4.17 ERA in nine career starts against the Cubs.
Cueto might want to stay away from Alfonso Soriano. The outfielder has gone 8-for-20 with three homers against the right-hander. Recently activated Geovany Soto has six hits in 19 at-bats vs. Cueto, with three doubles, one triple and one homer. Aramis Ramirez has homered twice in 16 at-bats against him. ... Gorzelanny has held the Reds to a .222 batting average against, but Scott Rolen has hit him well, going 5-for-13. Votto, Ryan Hanigan and Jay Bruce have each homered once against the lefty.
Fri, 8/27 7:10 PM ET
Bruce beats Cubs with home run derby
Jay Bruce belted three home runs and Chris Valaika smacked his first big league homer to power the Reds' offense. Johnny Cueto allowed one run on six hits over eight for the win, while Tom Gorzelanny took the loss.
|Castro, S, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.311|
|Ramirez, Ar, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.243|
|Soriano, A, LF||3||0||0||0||0||2||2||.259|
|a-Hoffpauir, M, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.077|
2B: Colvin (16, Cueto).
TB: DeWitt; Byrd 2; Nady 2; Colvin 2.
RBI: Colvin (49).
2-out RBI: Colvin.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Soriano, A.
GIDP: Castro, S.
Team RISP: 0-for-1.
Team LOB: 4.
DP: (Castro, S-DeWitt-Nady).
2B: Valaika (1, Gorzelanny), Stubbs 2 (14, Gorzelanny, Gorzelanny).
HR: Bruce 3 (16, 3rd inning off Gorzelanny, 0 on, 1 out; 5th inning off Gorzelanny, 2 on, 1 out; 7th inning off Maine, 0 on, 1 out), Valaika (1, 5th inning off Gorzelanny, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Bruce 12; Valaika 6; Votto; Stubbs 4.
RBI: Votto (91), Bruce 5 (55), Valaika (1).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Janish 2.
Team RISP: 2-for-4.
Team LOB: 3.
SB: Stubbs 2 (22, 2nd base off Diamond/Soto, 3rd base off Gorzelanny/Soto).
CS: Bruce (4, 2nd base by Gorzelanny/Soto).
Groundouts-flyouts: Gorzelanny 6-2, Diamond 1-0, Maine 2-0, Mateo 0-0, Cueto 5-5, LeCure 1-0.
Batters faced: Gorzelanny 22, Diamond 4, Maine 5, Mateo 3, Cueto 29, LeCure 3.
Umpires: HP: Scott Barry. 1B: Greg Gibson. 2B: Brian Knight. 3B: Sam Holbrook.
Weather: 82 degrees, clear.
Wind: 6 mph, Varies.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media